Eric Mathoho believes South Africa will reach Olympic Games knockout stage


The South Africa Under-23 team is in Group A which also has Denmark, Iraq and host nation Brazil who will feature superstar Neymar in attack.

“In football we are all the same because we play 11 versus 11. I think if we push we can possibly end up seeing ourselves getting into the next stage,” reckons Mathoho, who is in the squad as one of the over-aged players along with Kaizer Chiefs teammate Itumeleng Khune.

“Every team obviously goes there with the intention of competing and dreams of winning something. For us we hope we will get something,” he says.

The 26-year-old will not only be keen to repay Owen da Gama for the faith he has shown in him but will also have a familiar face in Rivaldo Coetzee to partner at the heart of defence, with the two already regulars in the Bafana Bafana team.

“I am very happy to have been chosen to be in the Under-23 squad. It means a lot to me because there were plenty other players they had seen who could have been selected,” Mathoho says.

“I am really grateful to the coach for selecting me to join the Under-23. Even though I play with him [Coetzee] in the senior team, I will have to work hard. At least we know each other.”

South Africa start off against Brazil on August 4 then square off with Denmark four days later, before rounding off their group matches against Iraq on August 11.

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